Tuesday, July 21, 2020

How to Create Your Own Family Adventure

From camping in the backyard, to hiking at different state parks, to exploring our "backyard", our family is always up for an adventure and this summer has made a point of planning an adventure each week.  Here are some tips and ideas to help you and your family to make your own fun and go on an adventure of your own: 

How to Create Your Own Family Adventure

I love making memories and building traditions with my kids and I didn't want this summer to be remembered by restrictions and closures.  Instead, I wanted it to be remembered by adventures and fun, so our family has sought to create our own family adventure each week throughout the summer.

So how do you start?

First, I asked our kids what they'd like to do and where they'd like to go.  They brainstormed a great list which was the perfect starting place to plan our weekly adventures.  Next, I looked at our family's calendar and started setting aside a day each week for a family adventure.  There have been a couple weeks where we've needed to be flexible with our date or our plan but I knew if we didn't put it on the calendar it probably wouldn't get done.  The last step to going on an adventure is to just do it!  Don't wait for perfect timing or for your to-do list to be finished.  If you waited for those things you'd never go and if there has ever been a summer where families need to get out and have some fun it is now!  Here are some ideas to help you brainstorm what to do and where to go on your next adventure:

Go Camping

If you would ask my kids what is one of their favorite things to do during the summer they'd say go camping - and we don't own a camper.  Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and you can do it multiple ways.  One of the luxuries of living on the farm is that we are able to set up a tent in our yard.  This is the first year, knock on wood, everyone has stayed outside all night.  I love hearing the kids tell spooky stories and laugh in the tent from the deck, and then have a quiet house to come inside to.

How to Create Your Own Family Adventure - Backyard Camping Tent
Our kids have been getting a lot of good use out of our tent this summer

For the first time this summer, we rented a camper and stayed at a local campground for a couple of nights.  You can find rental companies in your area or check out RVshare.com for some options.  We had such a great experience renting a camper we're planning on doing in again later this summer!

How to Create Your Own Family Adventure - Rent a Camper
Here the kids are with our rented camper from
Movement Solutions in Clear Lake, Iowa

You can also go camping by staying in cabins or yurts.  Our family loves our annual yurting trip.  This is another fun way to experience camping without owning a camper.

How to Create Your Own Family Adventure - Camping in a Yurt
The yurts at Mc Intosh Woods State Park in Ventura, Iowa are always a
summer highlight for our family.  Plus they are a very affordable way to go camping!

Visit Area and State Parks

In Iowa we are fortunate to not only have a wonderful state park system, but they are also free to visit.  2020 marks the centennial of the Iowa State Parks program so they've put together a lot of fun ways to celebrate, including a digital passport.  While exploring at State Parks our family loves hiking and walking on trails, playing in the water when available and keeping our eyes and ears open for different animals, insects and plants.  When visiting a State Park the kids bring their adventure supplies which includes a pair of kid binoculars, a magnifying glass, a compass and a notebook.  We also use the app "Map My Walk" to keep track of our travels.  The kids always think it's neat to see the map generated of our path as well as find out how far we went.

Our family's favorite Iowa State Parks we have visited so far are:

  • Beeds Lake, Hampton, Franklin County
How to Create Your Own Family Adventure - Visit State Parks, Beeds Lake, Hampton, Iowa
Enjoy the 2 mile trail around the lake which takes you
over a land bridge and by this spillway

  • Ledges, Madrid/Boone, Boone County
How to Create Your Own Family Adventure - Visit State Parks, Ledges State Park, Madrid/Boone, Iowa
We had so much fun stream walking in the Lower Ledges
and looking at wildlife living in the sandstone bluffs

  • Palisades-Kepler, Mt. Vernon, Linn County
How to Create Your Own Family Adventure - Visit State Parks, Palisades-Kepler State Park, Mt. Vernon, Iowa
Our family loved hiking on the trails overlooking the Cedar River

  • Pikes Peak, Mc Gregor, Clayton County
How to Create Your Own Family Adventure - Visit State Parks, Pikes Peak State Park, McGregor, Iowa
Pikes Peak offers nice trails that bring you to different outlooks over the Mississippi River,
to Bridal Veil Water Falls and around Native American Effigy Mounds

Be a Local Tourist

Going on an adventure doesn't mean you have to travel far, you can find things to do right in your backyard!  Visit local attractions.  Walk through area museums.  Go somewhere new to you.  When was the last time you explored the town or area you live in?  

Going on an adventure close to home is great for an afternoon or evening getaway.  Take it up a notch and plan a staycation close to home.  Earlier this month we had a great weekend staying in Clear Lake, Iowa, even though we were less than a half hour away from home.

How to Create Your Own Family Adventure - Be a Local Tourist
Our family took a boat cruise on Clear Lake's Lady of the Lake
What a fun way to be local tourists and learn more about our local area

Plan a Fun Road Trip

I am always up for a fun road trip!  Road trips are a great way of going on an adventure and either discovering something close to home or exploring somewhere new.

What is something your family enjoys?  Make it a road trip!  Do you enjoy animals?  Make a Zoo or Farm Road Trip.  Do you like history?  Make a road trip that follows different historical markers.  Maybe you want to see all of the quirky road side attractions or "world's largest" items in your area or state?  Make a map and plan out a road trip.

Our family loves visiting the different county Freedom Rocks across the state of Iowa.  We have visited 25% of them so far and can't wait to continue going on more adventures checking out the different Freedom Rocks in all of Iowa's 99 counties.

How to Create Your Own Family Adventure - Plan a Road Trip - Iowa's Freedom Rocks
Winnebago County Freedom Rock, Lake Mills, Iowa

Our family also has loved creating our own Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip by stopping at different local Iowa ice cream shops and parlors.  Going on a food road trip is a lot of fun and we've also went to several spots of the Iowa Pork Tenderloin Trail as well.

How to Create Your Own Family Adventure - Plan a Road Trip - Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip
The kids at one of this year's Iowa Ice Cream Road Trip locations
WW Homestead Dairy in Waukon, Iowa

So what are you waiting for?

Creating your own family adventure is a great way to get out of the house and make memories, no matter how near or far away from home you go.  The whole family can learn something new while exploring the world around them.  I love how going on a family adventure is a great way to bond, get away from technology and discover something new.  So get creative and plan a few unique adventures that the entire family can enjoy!  What or where are you going to go first?


  1. Great ideas! We need to figure out a couple small adventures to have before school starts up.

    1. It is hard to believe school will be here in just a couple of weeks. We're excited for our adventures we have planned!

  2. You provide a wonderful list of choices. There is so much to do in the local area if you just look! Thanks for sharing!

    1. How true! It is fun and easy to explore your backyard!

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